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Testicular Cancer

How Is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 15:19

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

One of the most effective ways of finding a tumor is by testicular self-examination on a monthly basis.

Most lumps in the testicle are cancerous, but noncancerous masses and cysts can arise from other causes, such as infection.

If a suspicious lump is found, the initial steps toward diagnosis include:

Physical Examination

When symptoms suggest a cancer in a testicle, the doctor:

  • Will ask about personal and family history
  • Will perform a complete physical examination
  • May order a blood test, urine test, and/or chest x-ray

Specialized Tests

These may include:

  • Ultrasound of Testicles

    The doctor also may order an ultrasound of the testicles. Ultrasound is a painless test that uses sound waves to produce images of the inner body, and can usually distinguish between normal and abnormal structures. It cannot tell whether any abnormal tissue is actually cancer.

  • CT scan or MRI, high tech tests in which computers are used to produce precise images of the inside of the testis.

For further information about CT scan, go to CT Scan.

For further information about MRI, go to MRI.

If these tests are inconclusive, or if cancer is strongly suspected, an operation called an inguinal orchiectomy is performed.

Need To Know:

Q: If the doctor suspects testicular cancer, why can't a simple biopsy (removal of tissue) be done?

A: If a testicular tumor is found, biopsy by itself is usually rarely done. The proper procedure is removal of the testicle to confirm that cancer is present and to determine the exact type. Studies show that cutting through just the outer layer of a testicle to obtain a tissue sample can cause the spread of cancer, if present.

Nice To Know:

Careful physical examination by a specialist in urology (a branch of medicine concerned with the urinary system in both sexes, and with the testicles, epididymis, prostate, seminal vesicles, and penis in males) can frequently distinguish cancerous lumps from noncancerous lumps, but further tests will be necessary to confirm the diagnosis

Testicular Cancer